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Opihi59 09-26-2010 05:44 PM

Basic Maintenance--Bikini Top Velcro Repair
The Bikini top was flapping about too much since the Velcro along the sides had torn or otherwise rotted away. This writeup is not prefaced with the usual safety text, you don't have to undo your Neg terminal from the battery, nor do you have to put up on jackstands, block the tires, etc. You should check your tetanus status though, more on that later.

The rest of the Bikini top was in good repair so I figured I'd replace the velcro. The difficult part was finding the Velcro--what is available at all the various places is adhesive backed, even in the (gasp, I actually went there...) specialty fabric shops, and I found you cannot sew that. Or course, I don't really have mad sewing skills, nor do I have an industrial sewing machine. Hey, it's a power tool now, isn't it? First pic the "hook" side of the Velcro had torn off. Second photo was the only remaining piece that was functional, and it was on its way out.

The Dragon Lady had some interesting things in her sewing box; there is a wicked instrument called a Seam Ripper that you can slip between 2 pieces of material and cut thru just the stitching supposedly. On the second seam I cut I ended up burying the stoopid thing to the hub in my palm. This tool now lovingly renamed the Palm Ventilator.

I managed to finally find some bulk 2" wide, black, industrial Velcro from some friendly Parachute riggers who gave me 3' of it. You may be able to locate this easier than I did, I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific. I cut it into paired strips about 6" long.

I positioned them as shown and ran a stitch line across to secure them together. Hook-side down in the above photo, loop-side up on the left. You have to flip one side of course since they wrap around the rollbar from opposite sides and the hook side has to face the loop side to work.

If anyone requires an instructional video on how to work Velcro, PM Mean Max and he likely knows how to make a video, and link it in.

I picked out a brand new, heavy duty needle and honed it up a little bit like you would a heavy duty fish hook, and figured out how to load that in the machine and carefully ran a series of stitch lines criss-crossing each, back and forth, etc. Sewing machine made some odd straining and gears/belt slipping sounds, Ozone smell wafting outta the motor, but it managed to punch the needle thru with encouragement. At about this time Son #2 wanders in and tells me that my B**bs are bigger than Mommie's. Nice.

Probably not quite as hairy though.

It's not pretty, it doesn't have to be. Just has to work.

I burnt some toast in the toaster oven to mask the smell of scorched belt coming out of the sewing machine. Dragon Lady would not be pleased at me destroying her sewing machine even though she hasn't barely used it in months. At about the 4th out of the total of 6 that need to be replaced, I managed to punch the needle thru the side of my thumb feeding in the material--at least twice before I managed to pull my foot off the foot pedal.

Re-installed on the Jeep, and it works great. I suppose I could have taken it to an upholstery shop, but I would imagine they'd charge me some outrageous fee to do it. If I happen to find someone with an industrial machine that would let me use it, I could use some heavier gauge thread. I think this will work though, certainly bettern' what it had before.

plym49 09-26-2010 05:50 PM

Nice writeup, well written, thanks.

Mean Max 09-26-2010 08:39 PM

So you have some sewing skills, but can you cook? :kiss:

Great job, as always! :thumbsup:

Max :cheers2:

mdw66nova 09-26-2010 08:55 PM

Great job! I no longer have a Wrangler, DL has hinted she would like another, but I do remember sitting on the living room floor with the various parts of the top replacing the rotten stitching by hand. I also remember the flesh wounds.

Opihi59 09-26-2010 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by Mean Max (Post 10189267)
......but can you cook?

Max :cheers2:

Well, I can boil up a wicked pot of water, and I can make Mac and cheese. :thumbsup:

rustywrangler 09-26-2010 10:30 PM


Originally Posted by Opihi59 (Post 10189651)
Well, I can boil up a wicked pot of water, and I can make Mac and cheese. :thumbsup:

You're hired, when can you start watching my kids??????? That's all they ever want to eat anyway.

Oh, and this is added to the FAQ.

Opihi59 09-26-2010 11:38 PM


Originally Posted by rustywrangler (Post 10189981)
You're hired, when can you start watching my kids??????? That's all they ever want to eat anyway.

Oh, and this is added to the FAQ.

Well, whaddyaknow? Look what I found:

Send kids, I'll teach them how to snorkel. :tea:

Matt The Hammer 09-27-2010 08:00 AM

Nice work. Sewing is a great skill to have. I play hockey (goalie) and can operate a sewing machine with the best of them.

I use an online retailer (strapworks) for my parts like the velcro. They also carry all those plastic snap buckles that tend to break and even stock metal ones.

Another fantastic tool is a sewing awl. Most people use the 'Speedy Stitcher' or 'Awl for all' with ease. Plus it will sew through the toughest materials (soft tops are easy) and uses a heavy duty waxed thread. It's handy and much quicker to use than the old Singer.

Matt The Hammer 09-27-2010 08:02 AM

Anyone who has replacement fabric on their soft top uppers - with the velcro that comes off on the highway - should grab one of these awls and run a stitch through the velcro to keep it attached. It's a few minutes of work to do, but it makes all the difference in the world while driving.

idaholtby 09-27-2010 02:54 PM

[QUOTE Send kids, I'll teach them how to snorkel. :tea:[/QUOTE]

Now I know how to get my 22yr old out of the house! :D
Nice write up Opihi!
... My kid will be there as soon as I get the plane tickets secured.:cheers2:

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